Nicolai Krejberg Knudsen
I work primarily on issues in phenomenology, social ontology, and practical philosophy. In general, my work focuses on the relation between human nature and sociality. I try to answer questions like: What enables individuals to constitute a group, and what does this tell us about the fundamental nature of the human being? How is moral agency transformed in communities? Can we ascribe responsibility to groups and not only individuals?
Current research projects
Heidegger's Social Ontology
In light of the growing interest in social ontology and social phenomenology as well as the ever-increasing literature on Heidegger, surprisingly little attention has been paid to Heidegger’s account of social life. In fact, critics and commentators largely agree that he had nothing substantial to say about human coexistence—let alone anything of lasting value. This project aims to rectify this popular misconception by (i) reconstructing a coherent account of Heidegger’s social ontology as this appears in his published texts, lecture courses, and notebooks and (ii) showing how Heideggerian insights contribute to on-going discussions on the nature of social cognition, collective intentionality, and social normativity.
My book, Heidegger's Social Ontology: The Phenomenology of Self, World, and Others, is under contract with Cambridge University Press and will appear in 2022.
The Phenomenology of Shared Responsibility
Imagine a group of strangers who witness a violent assault. Each of the strangers implicitly understands that he or she alone cannot help the victim, but that they are jointly capable of stopping the assault. In such a case, each of the strangers has an experience of shared responsibility, although they are helpless as individuals. This seemingly trivial case poses some serious questions about moral agency. In which sense, if any, is the unstructured association a moral agent? This research project explores this question by carrying out a phenomenological analysis of shared ethical demands. It aims to elucidate the interplay between agency, intersubjectivity, and normativity that constitutes our experiences of shared responsibility.
This project is funded by the Carlsberg Foundation.